David W. Trotter is a 1977 graduate of Occidental College (summa sum laude and Phi Beta Kappa) and a 1980 graduate of Stanford Law School. Upon graduating from Stanford, Mr. Trotter received a Henry Luce Foundation scholarship and spent a year working for the Attorney General of Hong Kong. He was an associate and senior litigation counsel with Pillsbury Madison & Sutro LLP from 1981 to 1998. He joined Bowles & Verna in September 1998. In November 2006 Mr. Trotter was elected to a four-year term on the Moraga Town Council.
Mr. Trotter has a broad range of civil litigation and arbitration/ADR experience. He has tried and managed complex environmental, land use, real estate, eminent domain/regulatory taking, construction and general commercial and business litigation and administrative/regulatory proceedings. As a lobbyist, Mr. Trotter has represented natural resource, mining and intellectual property companies with respect to proposed legislation and administrative rulemaking matters before agencies and legislative bodies at the federal, state and local levels.
Representative matters handled and results achieved by Mr. Trotter in recent years include:
- Represented homeowners associations in successful administrative appeals to Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, of planning commission approval of outdoor firing adjacent to clients’ property. Mr.Trotter coordinated CEQA/legal/scientific challenge to proposed gun club and mobilized political//lobbying campaign. Result: Board of Supervisors required preparation of EIR and later denied gun club project on environmental and other grounds. County’s decision upheld in subsequent mandamus proceedings in superior court.
- Numerous successful representations of business and property owners seeking approvals of use permits, variances and other land use entitlements in cities and counties throughout Northern California.
- Participated in representing inventor of financial planning software in complex breach of fiduciary duty and contract action involving software company’s failure to pay royalties due and owing. Result: After protracted and hotly contested discovery proceedings, defendants agreed to mediated settlement.
- Representation of developer in action against redevelopment agency and city for breach of contract and tortious interference with contract, obtaining $1.28 million settlement that substantially recouped client’s expenses on project.
- Represented lumber company in breach of contract action against the U.S. Forest Service. Initiated ADR proceedings that resulted in seven-figure judgment and settlements from the U.S. Government and the prior counsel’s malpractice carrier.
- Represented mining company in regulatory taking/inverse condemnation action. Developed sophisticated liability and damages arguments with experts; successfully opposed summary judgment motions. Result: $7.5 million consent judgment against the U.S. Government in the U.S. Claims Court.
- Represented company in action against city for breach of exclusive franchise agreement and writ of mandate to set aside insufficient increases in solid waste collection rates. Result: Prior to trial and following substantial discovery, city agreed to new and enhanced rate-setting terms that have ensured client’s profitability over remaining term of franchise. Mr. Trotter has since advised and represented solid waste companies on diverse operational, contract and franchise-related issues.
- Represented owner of former steel mill property in connection with complex multi-party, multi-site CERCLA Superfund and environmental contamination case.
- Acted as lead trial counsel for mining/power cogeneration company in lawsuit challenging federal regulatory and enforcement actions. After trial, obtained exemption of client’s mining operations from federal regulation, resulting in substantial annual compliance cost savings. Later directed extensive lobbying campaign that persuaded federal agency officials not to adopt new environmental regulation that threatened to “rescind” the client’s exemption.
Professional Memberships and Affiliations
Mr. Trotter is a member of the State Bar of California. He holds memberships in the American Bar Association, San Francisco Bar Association and Contra Costa County Bar Association. Mr. Trotter is admitted to practice in all California state and federal trial and appellate courts; the U.S. Court of Federal Claims; and the Federal and Fourth Circuit Courts of Appeal. He is an associate member of the California Mining Association and registered California lobbyist (1993-1996).
Mr. Trotter has co-authored articles on cutting edge developments in inverse condemnation, regulatory taking and endangered species laws, including:
THE “TAKING” OF PRIVATE PROPERTY WITHOUT JUST COMPENSATION: A NEW CONSTITUTIONAL PRICE TAG, Barclays Law Journal (January 1988)
LUCAS V. SOUTH CAROLINA COASTAL counsel: GOOD NEWS FOR PROPERTY RIGHTS, California Environmental Law Reporter (August 1992)
SWEET HOME: NOT MUCH BANG, NOT MUCH LIGHT, California Environmental Law Reporter (September 1995)
Mr. Trotter was born on February 25, 1955 in Macomb, Illinois. He played varsity basketball (four years) and water polo at Occidental College in Los Angeles. Mr. Trotter is married to Deborah Webster Trotter and has four children. Mr. Trotter resides in Moraga and is active in the community there. He currently serves on the Moraga Town Council, following a successful election campaign in 2006. He spent more than six years as a member of the Moraga Planning Commission (1991-1998), and served as its chairman from 1994-1996. Mr.Trotter has served on the board of the Moraga Historical Society and Moraga Parks and Recreation Foundation. He has coached youth basketball teams for the past several years. Mr. Trotter is a director and serves on the Land Committee of Save Mount Diablo,a Walnut Creek-based land trust and open space preservation and advocacy group. Mr. Trotter is also a member of the executive committee and board of directors ofthe Lassen Park Foundation, and is on the board of Freeway Industrial Park,Inc., which owns and manages commercial property in Southern California.